Text : Magandeep Singh
India's Best Bar
The Blue Bar at the Taj Palace in Delhi is classy, luxurious and welcoming. And its cocktails deliver the most unbelievable sensations to the palate.
There was a time when the word blue was more than a color. It was the shade of sadness, a melancholy stroke of brush that stood for all that seemed unjust and inexplicable: broken hearts, bad job, low self-esteem, legal hassles, the list reads on.
The Blue Bar at the Taj Palace in Delhi gives the color a completely new avatar : Bright, exuberant, luxurious, classy and welcoming. It is by far in my opinion the best bar in the country, the definitive hangout for all those who care about the drink in their glass and where they enjoy it.
The Taj people have spared no effort here. The red, blue and purple high ceilinged interior with glass behind the bar has been designed by the Singapore based Poole Associates, one of the best in the world when it comes to creating chic watering holes. The fabulous lighting has been done by a California firm, [Integrated Lighting Design] and the fixtures are from a specialist based in Bali. Bespoke furniture came from Unicane of Singapore.
Although it is superbly stocked with every possible spirit to make the embers of your heart glow, that is not the reason this bar stands drinks above the rest. It's the cocktails. More specifically, the cocktails as concocted by this gem of a mixologist, Nick Hawkins, a Britisher who now calls India home. Having run bars in Mumbai, Goa, Chennai and Pune, he has used all his gathered wisdom to make Blue Bar an experience to savour.
The menu is divided into three parts, Signature [cocktails that are his own creations], Revivals [made up of old-time classic cocktails like New York Flip and Blood and Sand] and TopShelf, which is largely the popular cocktails.
His creations are elaborate on his sub continental learnings and philosophies. Each drink is a victory of construction, design and thoughtful engineering, not just a few ingredients shaken or stirred. It's about the play of fruits and juices, the choice of spirit, the toppings and garnishes. Each drink is like a 40-piece classic set and orchestrated to deliver the most unbelievable sensations to the palate.
I may seem to be waxing extra-eloquent but even for me, who checks out quite a few bars a week, it was all a pleasant and welcome surprise and I couldn't wait to go back and try some more of their cocktails.
Although the preparation of Blazing Saddles, an exotic mix of tequila, passion fruit, pineapple syrup, and spices 'blazed' with Absinthe and Green Chartreuse is the most intricate and interesting to watch, the Godfrey, combining Cassis [Black currant] and Cognac in a way that leaves little else to be desired, remains my favorite.
Amid a plethora of super-chic private clubs and what not, The Blue Bar manages to define itself distinctly. Sure it isn't cheap so it may not entirely replace your local watering hole but if exclusivity and connoisseurship is what you desire to associate with, then this is miles ahead of anything else that has opened in the country in the last few years.
|The Blue Bar's menu offers signature cocktails as well as old-time cocktails||
The Taj Palace Hotel, Sardar Patel Marg, Diplomatic Enclave [+91 6650-3665. Sun-Thu 12:30pm-12;30am, Fri-Sat 12;30pm-2:am